Regarding the Jan. 24 news article “Should sheriffs be able to limit who gets guns?”: This is not a comment on gun ownership or mental health screening for buyers. I am disturbed by the language cited in the Gun Control Act.
We read that some sheriffs use a provision in state law to ensure the gun owner is of “good moral character” as a means of accessing mental health records. Of course severe mental illness is of concern when issuing gun permits. But to use mental illness as a measure of moral character is just plain wrong.
A huge percentage of residents have taken medicine or had counseling for depression and anxiety, for example. Those are classified as mental illnesses. Are they moral character issues? No.
The article continued by saying that the moral character clause is a “very helpful tool” for evaluating applicants “who might be suicidal or have other mental health issues.” That is apples and oranges. Could we please separate mental (or physical) health from any discussion of morality or character?
Lots of good people get sick; lots of bad ones stay healthy. High moral character has no place in a discussion of mental health assessment.